US LCCs Allegiant and AirTran fare well on Friday, but Southwest still out of favour.

US markets. US shares gained a little traction on 12-Dec-08, on speculation the US government will boost spending on technology and on revived hopes of an auto industry bailout. The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 64.59 points (+0.8%), to 8,629.68, the Nasdaq climbed 17.27 (+1.46%) to 1200.74, while the Standard & Poor's 500 index rose 2.9 points (+0.69%) to 425.22.

European stock markets were down on the day, despite the European Union's announcement of a EUR200 billion economic stimulus anti-recession plan. London's FTSE lost 108.34 points (-2.47%) closing at 4280.35. In Paris the CAC 40 fell 92.53 (-2.80%) to 3213.6, while the Frankfurt DAX 30 lost 103.83 (-2.18%), closing at 4663.37.

Asia Pacific share markets had fallen on the day, following weakness in US markets on 11-Dec-08, caused by doubts over a rescue package for US car makers. North Asia was worst affected. The Hong Kong Hang Seng fell 1076.69 points (-6.9%) to 14537.21, the Tokyo Nikkei decreased 484.68 points (-5.87%) to 8,235.87, while the Australian ASX200 fell 87.6 points (-2.43%) to 3510.4 on 12-Dec-08.

STOP PRESS Asia Pacific 15-Dec-08

After their slump on Friday, Japanese stocks soared today to lead Asian markets higher as investors brushed aside a survey showing business confidence plunged, hoping for a U.S. interest-rate cut and after the Bush administration said Friday it would step in to prevent a failure of U.S. automakers. Japan's Nikkei average jumped +4.6%.

Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index rose +3.5% to 15,271.19The Australian share market closed stronger and Australia's S&P/ASX200 index was up 81 points (+2.31%) at 3591.4.

Oil prices

Oil prices fell on 12-Dec-08, by USD1.70 a barrel (-3.54%), closing at USD46.28 a barrel. OPEC is expected to announce plans to drastically cut output to lift oil prices after its members meet on 17-Dec-08.

Airline share prices

After shedding around 6% on the previous day, Allegiant (+9.0%) and AirTran (+8.0%) were boosted on generally better sentiment in the market that low cost operations were looking good, especially for well positioned companies, but the cooling ardour for Southwest was still apparent (which was down 7.6% on Thursday), as fuel prices remained low.

But the good news was that no airline lost market cap on the day - a rare occurrence in these times.

North America selected airlines daily share price movements (% change): 12-Dec-08